Backed by the US-led coalition Iraqi troops have advanced into the centre of the last remaining district held by DAESH terror group in the city of Ramadi, with the latest fighting leaving at least two members of the Iraqi security forces dead and nine injured, police said.
The number adds to the other three killed on Friday, apart from the death of 23 terrorists according to several senior officers and local officials.
Following a major push earlier this week that broke DAESH defences around the city core, troops continued to clash overnight with terrorists in the Hoz neighborhood that houses the provincial government complex, Joint Operations Command spokesman Brigadier Yahya Rasool said.
"The counter-terrorism forces are within 800 meters (0.5 mile) from the government complex," moving along by about 1 km in the past day, he said.
"Air strikes helped detonate explosive devices and booby-trapped houses, facilitating our advance," he added.
Special operation commander Sami al Aridhi said they managed to push forward despite being slowed down by terrorists.
"Our troops are now advancing towards their targets but were delayed because the criminals have booby-trapped everything," he said.
If the Iraqi forces succeed in their operation, Ramadi will be the second major city after Tikrit that they have retaken from DAESH, Ramadi fell to the terrorists in May.
The next step for the Iraqi Army will be to move to retake the northern city of Mosul, the most populated centre under DAESH control in Iraq and Syria.
"The liberation of dear Mosul will be achieved with the cooperation and unity of all Iraqis after the victory in Ramadi," Prime Minister Haider al Abadi said on Friday.